via Resfeber. Sonder. Fernweh.Resfeber. Sonder. Fernweh.
Resfeber. Sonder. Fernweh.
What makes one go to lands and seas far and beyond, away from the comforts of familiarity, familiar faces, familiar food, familiar roads?
Why would one suddenly pick up the globe, twirl it and decide on a place believing it is the universe conspiring and whispering secrets into her ears?
I have been quizzed on this several times. What does traveling mean to you?
Well, there is no straight answer to that. In this blog, I will attempt to share when it all started.
It all began as an itch when my tiny fingers would trace the many lines and dots during the endless book cricket matches with an atlas. I wanted to know the stories of the people who lived there.
This itch was building a small curious home in my heart growing one root at a time with the stories my uncle would share of the many places he had been to when he moved to Canada.
In one such visit he handed me a very old copy of much-leafed, well-loved quarterly journal from the Explorers club . As I turned the pages of the journal, I remember the itch forming into a full grown wound. This wound could only be healed when I had been to places where people didn’t speak my language, where the roads would not lead home and where every person I met would teach me how to live in the moment.
Travel to me is this bittersweet experience which starts with resfeber, the restless race of my heart before any journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together. Travel enriches me with sonder, the awareness that each individual who pass me have their own dreams, aspirations, ambitions, worries and love-stories, their own craziness all mixing into creating an epic story and I realise how big this world is. This all reignites the feeling of fernweh many refer to as wanderlust, the longing to go to far-off-places.
So once bitten, forever high. This is what traveling means to me.
This was the very soil that my toddling feet held on to when I took the beating for being a dark child in a fair family. Kali, Mother Ink and many such names was I called, coiling back in the shied darkness of invisibility. Black, the color of Kali, Goddess of Death, shrouded my tiny yet valiant steps, blurred my vision as I dreamed of a dark world balanced to charcoal and grey only through the periscope of Dickens, Twain, Elliot and Keats.
“Maa, when will I climb the Hungerford stairs, walk the Gads Hill Place” I often asked while she would fondly put layers of turmeric, chandan and uptan as she hoped for a daughter fair and handsome like her Rabi, her Sun, my father. Three decades later I cling on to these words, these dreams, with a smirk and a smile. Calcutta, the city of my childhood that grows as a malignant appendage which I blissfully deny.
I have read many articles, stumbled on paragraphs in novels, glanced at documentaries and movies which romance this city, the city of joy, city of adda, bhaarer chaa, luchi, golbarir kosha mangsho, shyambazarer more. City that turns white and blue from a Stalin Red overnight when the call of the land, soil and people arise in the hearts of a million and many. As I stand watching the kaleidoscope change, monochrome palettes transforming to canvases flecked with hues of the four elements the fifth sits with me, crouched in its safe corner.Soul stays Black, parched with the un-cried tears, heavy with the burden of my memories of the city, clawing a cancerous grip within.
The city that beckons me for a quickie and raucously laughs.. “you came back yet again?”